Three weeks ago, I ran an article explaining why the free British Airways American Express card was now the best cashback card in Britain …..
…… assuming, of course, that you believe Nectar points are as good as cash. Whether you do believe this will depend on how much money you spend in Sainsbury’s, in Argos or on eBay.co.uk, the main outlets for Nectar points.
As we covered last Tuesday, American Express has just cut the cashback rate on its two American Express Platinum Cashback credit cards.
I wanted to take another look at how this impacts the value of the free BA Amex card – when treated as a pure cashback card – versus the two American Express Platinum Cashback competitors.
A reminder about how Avios and Nectar convert
Back in January, Avios and Nectar unveiled their new partnership.
In a huge surprise, the two companies introduced two-way points transfers. This page of ba.com explains how Nectar transfers work.
Not only that, but the transfers were at a very generous rate for both parties:
- 250 Avios gets you 400 Nectar points, which are worth £2 off your shopping at Sainsbury’s, Argos or eBay
- 400 Nectar points get you 250 Avios, which HfP tends to value at around £2-£2.50
Following the launch of the partnership ….
- the value of a Nectar point increased from 0.5p unless you have a very low valuation of an Avios point (and if you do have a low valuation of an Avios, you’re unlikely to be reading this)
- Avios suddenly had a ‘floor’ value of 0.8p, since this was what you got by moving them to Nectar and redeeming for shopping credit. You would be a mug to redeem Avios for any other redemption which got you less than 0.8p per point.
This led to a big disruption to the established order. For example:
- you’d be mad to redeem Avios for hotel bookings, car hire, seat selection fees or even, in almost all cases, ‘Part Pay With Avios’, since all of these get you less than 0.8p per point
- most American Express Membership Rewards redemptions became irrelevant, because almost all of them get you less than 0.8p per point. You should transfer to Avios and into Nectar instead, guaranteeing the 0.8p valuation.
The free British Airways American Express has now become the UK’s best cashback credit card
Yes, weird but true.
If you know someone looking for a free cashback credit card, tell them to get a British Airways American Express card. The representative APR is 22.2% variable.
This is how the free BA Amex compares to the best cashback cards.
The UK’s best ‘pure’ free cashback credit card is American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday. The representative APR is 22.2% variable.
Following the cuts unveiled last week, it pays you per calendar year:
- 0.5% cashback on spend up to £10,000 (but 0% if your annual spend is under £3,000)
- 1% cashback on spend above £10,000
The cashback comes as a lump sum at the year-end, added to your card balance.
Let’s compare this to the free British Airways American Express card. The free BA Amex pays:
- 1 Avios per £1 spent, with 1 Avios converting into 1.6 Nectar points
Compare the free BA Amex to the free Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday
This is what you would receive each year in cashback with different levels of spending. Remember that Cashback Everyday requires £3,000 of annual spending before it pays out.
- £1,000 – £0 Cashback Everyday vs £8 BA Amex
- £2,000 – £0 Cashback Everyday vs £16 BA Amex
- £3,000 – £15 Cashback Everyday vs £24 BA Amex
- £4,000 – £20 Cashback Everyday vs £32 BA Amex
- £5,000 – £25 Cashback Everyday vs £40 BA Amex
- £6,000 – £30 Cashback Everyday vs £48 BA Amex
- £7,000 – £35 Cashback Everyday vs £56 BA Amex
- £8,000 – £40 Cashback Everyday vs £64 BA Amex
- £9,000 – £45 Cashback Everyday vs £72 BA Amex
- £10,000 – £50 Cashback Everyday vs £80 BA Amex
- £11,000 – £60 Cashback Everyday vs £88 BA Amex
- £12,000 – £70 Cashback Everyday vs £96 BA Amex
- £13,000 – £80 Cashback Everyday vs £104 BA Amex
- £14,000 – £90 Cashback Everyday vs £112 BA Amex
- £15,000 – £100 Cashback Everyday vs £120 BA Amex
Irrespective of what you spend, the free American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday card gets you a lower return than the Nectar points you’d earn from the free British Airways American Express card.
This assumes, of course, that you treat Nectar points as equivalent to cash. If you shop in Sainsbury’s then they definitely are as good as cash.
I would never deny that cash beats the equivalent value in vouchers, although you will get the occasional Nectar promotion where you can get more than 0.5p per point.
Compare the free BA Amex to the £25 Amex Platinum Cashback card
American Express has a second cashback card, Platinum Cashback. Representative APR 27.3% variable including the £25 fee, 22.2% variable APR on purchases.
This carries a £25 annual fee but has a higher return:
- 0.75% cashback on spend up to £10,000
- 1.25% cashback on spend above £10,000
Amusingly, the free British Airways card is still more rewarding than the £25 Platinum Cashback card unless you are spending £17,000 per year.
Here is the return, adjusting for the £25 annual fee on Platium Cashback. This is based on the reduced rewards announced last week:
- £1,000 – £(17.50) Platinum Cashback vs £8 BA Amex
- £2,000 – £(10) Platinum Cashback vs £16 BA Amex
- £3,000 – £2.50 Platinum Cashback vs £24 BA Amex
- £4,000 – £5 Platinum Cashback vs £32 BA Amex
- £5,000 – £12.50 Platinum Cashback vs £40 BA Amex
- £6,000 – £20 Platinum Cashback vs £48 BA Amex
- £7,000 – £27.50 Platinum Cashback vs £56 BA Amex
- £8,000 – £35 Platinum Cashback vs £64 BA Amex
- £9,000 – £42.50 Platinum Cashback vs £72 BA Amex
- £10,000 – £50 Platinum Cashback vs £80 BA Amex
- £11,000 – £62.50 Platinum Cashback vs £88 BA Amex
- £12,000 – £75 Platinum Cashback vs £96 BA Amex
- £13,000 – £87.50 Platinum Cashback vs £104 BA Amex
- £14,000 – £100 Platinum Cashback vs £112 BA Amex
- £15,000 – £112.50 Platinum Cashback vs £120 BA Amex
You need to spend £17,000 – adjusting for the £25 fee – before the American Express Platinum Cashback card beats the free British Airways American Express.
How about the American Express Nectar credit card?
I know what you’re thinking:
“Surely the official Nectar American Express card earns you more from Nectar points than the free British Airways American Express card?”
Here’s the thing ….. it doesn’t. The Nectar American Express card has a £25 annual fee after the first year, which cuts into your return. Representative APR 27.3% variable including the £25 fee, 22.2% variable APR on purchases.
The Nectar American Express card earns you:
- 2 Nectar points, worth 1p, for every £1 spent
This is how your returns stack up, adjusting for the £25 fee on Nectar American Express:
- £1,000 – £(15) Nectar Amex vs £8 BA Amex
- £2,000 – £(5) Nectar Amex vs £16 BA Amex
- £3,000 – £5 Nectar Amex vs £24 BA Amex
- £4,000 – £15 Nectar Amex vs £32 BA Amex
- £5,000 – £25 Nectar Amex vs £40 BA Amex
- £6,000 – £35 Nectar Amex vs £48 BA Amex
- £7,000 – £45 Nectar Amex vs £56 BA Amex
- £8,000 – £55 Nectar Amex vs £64 BA Amex
- £9,000 – £65 Nectar Amex vs £72 BA Amex
- £10,000 – £75 Nectar Amex vs £80 BA Amex
- £11,000 – £85 Nectar Amex vs £88 BA Amex
- £12,000 – £95 Nectar Amex vs £96 BA Amex
- £13,000 – £105 Nectar Amex vs £104 BA Amex
- £14,000 – £115 Nectar Amex vs £112 BA Amex
- £15,000 – £125 Nectar Amex vs £120 BA Amex
You need to spend £13,000 before, adjusting for the £25 fee, the Nectar American Express gets you more ‘pseudo’ cashback than the free British Airways American Express.
It’s a weird old world, but – as the numbers above show – the free British Airways American Express credit card is now the best cashback credit card in Britain for most people, unless you are a big spender.
To beat the return on the free BA Amex, assuming you transferred your Avios into Nectar points, you’d need to spend:
- £17,000 per year on Amex Platinum Cashback, or
- £13,000 per year on Nectar American Express
….. before it became a better deal.
You will never beat the free British Airways American Express with the free Amex Platinum Cashback Everyday card.
The cut in the return on the two Platinum Cashback cards has had a big impact here, putting them further behind the free BA Amex.
Is anyone non-flyer really going to apply for the free BA Amex purely to use it as a cashback card? Probably not, but they should.
PS. Before anyone mentions it ….. I am aware that you can make the same case for the American Express Rewards Credit Card. This is free for life and earns 1 American Express Membership Rewards point per £1. These would convert 1:1 into Avios and then 1:1.6 into Nectar.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
Nectar American Express
First year free and 20,000 points sign-up bonus – worth £100 or 12,500 Avios Read our full review
American Express Platinum Cashback
The UK’s most generous cashback credit card with a fee Read our full review
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday
The UK’s most generous fee-free cashback credit card Read our full review